Millions of workers around the world complain of being burnt out and miserable, particularly because of the long hard hours they spend working in offices.
Even before Covid-19 came along and forced the majority of us to work from home, at least temporarily, more and more people had been pushing for the freedom to work from home for years.
It’s hardly surprising now, since working from home was suddenly thrust upon us all, that employers have had to rethink some of their antiquated views about why they may have been reluctant to allow their employees to work from home.
From the simple “we cannot trust them to get their work done without supervision”, to “our clients expect in person around the clock, access to our employee”.
As well as just the belief that employees must be in attendance at the workplace to regularly attend meetings, prepare for and debrief after these meetings.
But as recent events have shown, when employers and their employees work together and provide the equipment and support needed to get work done without the supervision previously stated, working remotely can be just as efficient as working in the office. And, working from home offers a variety of other benefits as well.
#1 Less dead time:
Time spent commuting to work is for many people a huge drain on time and often causes increased stress and respiratory issues because of unnecessary exposure to pollution.
On average, Americans spend 4 hours a year just sitting in traffic – that’s a lot of wasted time!
#2 Increased productivity
Despite what some employers would like you to believe, a well-known study conducted by Prof Nicholas Bloom in 2014 with other researchers at Stanford university showed that remote workers can be up to 15% more efficient than their peers who remain stuck in their offices.
#3 Better for the environment
This one should be an easy decision, but an analysis by a research company’s global workplace analytics shows that if half the US workforce worked from a home office for half the year, this would reduce the national greenhouse gas emissions by up to 51 million metric tons!
This would cause a major reduction in air pollution and clear skies over the country’s major cities, such as Los Angeles and New York.
#4 Make significant savings
This is a tremendous benefit to remote workers who on average spend up to $6,000 every year on daycare and gasoline. On top of this they could save money on real estate as the need to live close to their workplace would drastically reduce.
In an article published by the Harvest Business School, the US trademark and patent office saved near $40 million by using less office space.
#5 Increased job satisfaction
Another study conducted in 2005 showed that overall job satisfaction increased exponentially with every hour that someone spent working remotely.
Imagine if we could all feel happy and satisfied with the work that we are doing? Increased work productivity? You bet!
#6 Less Sick Leave
When more people work from home, business places no longer have to worry about transmittable diseases and installing special air filters to help their employees remain safe at work.
This will also save companies money due to lost productivity, not to mention we all stay healthier!
#7 More Time For Physical Activity
The ability to work from home will cut out a lengthy commute, allowing many employees time to squeeze in some much needed workouts.
Also moving around the home cleaning and doing laundry helps employees to stay active and healthy.
But, without some active encouragement from their employers, there is a risk that some employees may become more sedentary.
Will People Keep Working From Home?
Experts have predicted that the vast majority of workers would like a happy medium of having to show up in the office and working remotely from home.
There is every chance that one consequence of the pandemic will be to show managers that most of their workers can easily be trusted to remain productive without constant supervision.
If nothing else, it should prove to employers that this additional level of flexibility is something that most people are ready for, and they want more control over when and where they work.
In some industries telecommuting was already a growing trend but this trend largely excluded low-wage employees, and this group of employees continues to be viewed warily by many employers, who still believe their employees will spend too much time slacking off if left to work under their own devices, despite the obvious benefits of working from home.
Research has shown that some innovative solutions need to be provided to prevent workers losing creativity and problem-solving skills that they would otherwise have access to while working in a traditional workplace.
Other research has shown that some people can suffer from boredom, loneliness and even end up working much longer hours while working at home.
So, again, perhaps the happy medium is the solution here – a chance to work from home some of the time but still attend the designated, traditional workspace for meetings and collaboration with other employees.
This way employees get the autonomy and flexibility they crave while still having some days present and accounted for for meetings etc.
At the end of the day, if an employee is able to do their job by working from home in their home office without letting the quality or quantity of work slide, then all parties should be happy with this new arrangement.